|Only the Brave|
|Directed by||Joseph Kosinski|
|Screenplay by||Ken Nolan|
Eric Warren Singer
|Based on||GQ article "No Exit"|
by Sean Flynn
|Edited by||Billy Fox|
|Music by||Joseph Trapanese|
|Box office||$26.3 million|
Only the Brave is a 2017 American biographical drama film directed by Joseph Kosinski, and written by Ken Nolan and Eric Warren Singer, based on the GQ article "No Exit" by Sean Flynn. The film tells the story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite crew of firefighters from Prescott, Arizona who lost 19 of 20 members while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire in June 2013, and is dedicated to their memory. It features an ensemble cast, including Josh Brolin, James Badge Dale, Jeff Bridges, Miles Teller, Alex Russell, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Hardy, Thad Luckinbill, Geoff Stults, Scott Haze, Andie MacDowell, and Jennifer Connelly.
Principal photography began in New Mexico in June 2016. Only the Brave was released by Columbia Pictures in North America and by Summit Entertainment in other territories on October 20, 2017. The film was a box-office bomb, grossing just $26.3 million worldwide against a $38 million budget. However, it received positive reviews, with praise for the cast and the film's touching tribute to its subjects. The film is dedicated to the Granite Mountain Hotshots and their families.
Fire and Rescue Crew 7 of Prescott, Arizona, superintended by Eric Marsh, responds to a wildfire. Arriving on scene, Eric predicts that the fire will threaten a local neighborhood, but is stood down by the assigned hotshot superintendent. Eric's prediction comes true, leading to him venting his frustration to fire chief and close friend Duane Steinbrink that when the next wildfire threatens Prescott, his crew will not be allowed to fight it directly, as they lack hotshot certification. Eric asks for his help in obtaining his crew's evaluation which comes from Prescott Mayor Worthington who gives Eric until the end of the fire season to get and pass his evaluation.
Meanwhile, a 21-year old outcast named Brendan McDonough learns that his ex-girlfriend Natalie is pregnant with his child. Natalie however forbids Brendan from seeing her. Brendan is later arrested for larceny, which prompts his mother to evict him from her house. Determined to provide support for his newborn daughter, Brendan interviews with Eric, who gives him a chance. The crew are finally given an evaluation during a wildfire deployment. Eric briefs his crew on how they plan to stop the fire but is criticized by their evaluator, Hayes, who Eric bluntly disregards. Despite Hayes' concerns, the fire is halted by Eric's strategy, and the crew are made into the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
The crew's season becomes much more demanding as Granite Mountain are deployed across the country. Brendan is accepted by Natalie and is allowed to see his daughter. After being bitten by a rattlesnake during a fire in Prescott, Brendan approaches Eric about transferring to structural firefighting. Eric snaps at Brendan, stating that nobody on the structure side would hire an ex-con like him. Eric later has an argument with his wife Amanda, who has long resented Eric's obsession with his job and placing his wife's desire to start a family with him on indefinite hold. After a heart to heart with Duane, Eric returns to Amanda, announcing that he is ready to settle down.
The Granite Mountain Hotshots are called to the Yarnell Hill Fire; on the way, Eric announces to his Captain, Jesse Steed that he will step down as superintendent after this season and offers Jesse his job if he wants it. Eric also apologizes to Brendan for snapping at him and promises that he will help him as much as he can to ensure his transfer. The crew assembles a controlled burn, but is doused mistakenly by an airtanker. Sending Brendan as lookout, the remaining crew moves to find another suitable location. The wind suddenly shifts, and the fire jumps a trigger point. Brendan is rescued by another hotshot crew whilst the others relocate to a safe zone, but the fire moves too fast and is too intense to tackle safely.
The wind picks up again, jumping Granite Mountain's safe zone; cutting them off from escape. Clearing a small site quickly, Eric attempts to douse the blaze with an overhead airtanker, but it misses the drop zone. The crew deploys under their fire shelters as the fire sweeps over them. Brendan listens into the radio traffic, and is devastated when a call finally comes in from the first responders who arrive at their shelters; all 19 of his crewmates have perished. Though the information is treated sensitively, rumors flare amongst the devastated families of what has happened. Brendan, being the sole survivor demands to meet with them at the gather point at Prescott Middle School. Upon arriving, the families worst fears are confirmed, with Brendan suffering a psychological breakdown due to survivors guilt.
Three years later, Brendan takes his daughter to a juniper tree Granite Mountain had earlier saved, now adorned with the crewmembers memorabilia and photographs. The ending credits detail that the film is dedicated to the lives lost at the Yarnell Hill Fire, being the largest loss of firefighters since the September 11th attacks, as well as photos of the actual Granite Mountain crewmembers.
- Josh Brolin as Eric Marsh
- Miles Teller as Brendan McDonough
- Jeff Bridges as Duane Steinbrink
- Jennifer Connelly as Amanda Marsh
- Andie MacDowell as Marvel Steinbrink
- Alex Russell as Andrew Ashcraft
- Dylan Kenin as Robert Caldwell
- Scott Foxx as Travis Carter
- Ryan Busch as Dustin DeFord
- Taylor Kitsch as Christopher MacKenzie
- Sam Quinn as Grant McKee
- Kenny Miller as Sean Misner
- Thad Luckinbill as Scott Norris
- Ben Hardy as Wade Parker
- Nicholas Jenks as John Percin Jr.
- Jake Picking as Anthony Rose
- James Badge Dale as Jesse Steed
- Matthew Van Wettering as Joe Thurston
- Geoff Stults as Travis Turbyfill
- Ryan Jason Cook as William Warneke
- Scott Haze as Clayton Whitted
- Michael McNulty as Kevin Woyjeck
- Brandon Bunch as Garret Zuppiger
- Brytnee Ratledge as Juliann Ashcraft
- Pell James as Claire Caldwell
- Natalie Hall as Natalie Johnson
- Jenny Gabrielle as Desiree Steed
- Barbie Robertson as Marsena Thurston
- Jade Kammerman as Stephanie Turbyfill
- Howard Ferguson Jr. as Brian Ferguson
- Rachel Singer as Brendan's mother
- Ralph Alderman as Evaluator Hayes
On March 1, 2016, Josh Brolin and Miles Teller joined the cast of the film. Jeff Bridges and Taylor Kitsch later also joined the cast. The film was produced under the working title Granite Mountain. Principal photography on the film began in New Mexico on June 13, 2016. Filming took place at different locations in and around Santa Fe and Los Alamos.
Only the Brave, originally titled Granite Mountain, was released on October 20, 2017, by Sony Pictures Releasing under its Columbia Pictures label. Before that the film was set a release date for September 22, 2017, but a disagreement between Lionsgate and production company Black Label Media saw the U.S. distribution rights change to Columbia Pictures. Summit Entertainment will retain international rights in select countries for the film. The trailer came out on July 19, and the film was retitled Only the Brave. The film was released digitally on January 23, 2018, and on DVD and Blu-ray on February 6, 2018. As of December 2018, it had made $7.2 million in home video sales.
Only the Brave grossed $18.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $7.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $25.8 million, against a production budget of $38 million.
In the United States and Canada, Only the Brave was released alongside Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, The Snowman and Geostorm, and was expected to gross around $7 million from 2,575 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $305,000 from Thursday night previews and $2.1 million on its first day. It ended up debuting to $6 million, finishing 5th at the box office. In its second week the film dropped 42.5% to $3.4 million, finishing 7th.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 87% based on 160 reviews, with an average rating of 7.09/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Only the Brave's impressive veteran cast and affecting fact-based story add up to a no-frills drama that's just as stolidly powerful as the real-life heroes it honors." On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 72 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Bilge Ebiri of Village Voice wrote, "Only the Brave is a visually splendid, spellbinding, and surreal movie that also happens to be an emotionally shattering, over-the-top ugly-cry for the ages." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter called the film "an engaging account of a tragic real-life story."
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, saying: "The blending of practical effects and CGI is impressive, and we come to understand the risks these men are taking, but some of the techniques and approaches they take remain a mystery, up to and through the climactic fire. Not that we need a manual to understand these men were working-class, everyday heroes." Scott Menzel of We Live Entertainment also praised the film, saying, "Only the Brave is without question the best firefighter film since Backdraft and one that pays tribute to the brave men that sacrificed their own lives to protect thousands of others."
Richard Brody noted in The New Yorker that "Only the Brave ties the characters’ private lives to their work lives in a plethora of details, but it never looks beyond the work life into life at large, or even into the life that surrounds them in their own home town." Brody described the film as a missed opportunity to depict those who battled local politicians to secure benefits for survivors of the Yarnell Hill Fire and the widows of the deceased Hotshots. The review quoted Fernanda Santos in The New York Times who wrote that "Juliann Ashcraft decided to leave Prescott altogether to spare her four children the discomfort of whispers and glares" — a reference to the harassment of women who challenged the decision to treat victims differently based on their employment status.
|List of awards and nominations|
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipients||Result||Ref.|
|Visual Effects Society Awards||February 13, 2018||Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature||Eric Barba, Dione Wood, Matthew Lane, Georg Kaltenbrunner, Michael Meinardus||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature||Georg Kaltenbrunner, Thomas Bevan, Philipp Zaufel, Himanshu Joshi for "Fire and Smoke"||Nominated|
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